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Colonial Cases

R v. Smith [1890]

wounding with intent

Supreme Court for China

Shanghai, 30 January 1890

Source: Supreme Court of China (Shanghai), Judges' Notebooks, Vol. 3 (1880-1893), The National Archives (U.K.), FO1092: 340, p 317


Regina v. Henry Smith.

Charge - Wounding intent.

Plea - Not Guilty.

Jury sworn.  William Harris, [Deleted, G. J. Morrison, challenged], H. O. Sharp, [deleted, George Small, challenged], C. O. Liddell, [deleted, George Lanning, excused], D. W. Crawford, J. F. Hough.

Crown Advocate for the prosecution.

Mr. H. [Brimell] for the Prisoner.

Crown Advocate opens case for prosecn.

Mr. [Brimell] requests that witnesses may leave court.

Henry William [Brown], sworn.  Citizen of U.S. a Doctor of Medicine. [318] Found the Chinaman who was wounded at my Examining Room at the Hospital.  The wound was ragged.  The man was under my treatment from Xmas day up to the present time.  He is now well.  I now recognize him in Court.

   In other respects Witness's evidence corresponds with that in his deposition before the Magistrate.

XXd by Mr. [Brimell].  I did not consider it a [fresh] [gunshot] wound.

Ye Ching Kao, cautioned.  I am a jinrickisha coolie.  I saw the prisoner some 30 days ago.  He [319] got into my jinrickisha at [Acton] House back door about 8 in the evening.  He told me to take him towards Yangtzepoo.  I took him to Birts-Wharf alleyway.  It was about 40 days ago.  At Brits-Wharf I asked for the fare.  The Prisoner said he had no money.  He did not [say] this only told me to go away.  He got out of the jinrikisha & went into a Sampan.  I asked him again for money and then he fired at me.  I did not lay hold of the Prisoner as he was going down to the boat.  As he stepped into the [320] sampan I had hold of him but let go at once.  The Prisoner was in sampan and I on wharf when he fired.  I was struck in the [left][thigh].  After I was hit I laid down on the jetty.  I called a [Rakhol] man to call Police.  Policeman came and I went to Police Station with Prisoner.

XXd by Mr. [Brimell].  I know Birts Wharf well.  I took the Prisoner half way down the alleyway leading to wharf.  Alleyway is straight about 10 paces long.  Tide was low on Xmas day.  Sampan could get alongside Jetty.  Water came up to end of Jetty only.  Would be a [?????] [????] 40 or 50 cents from [Acton] House to Brits Wharf.  [321] Passengers please themselves as to what they give.  One Run by fixed distance is above 2 Li.  There was nobody with me when I followed prisoner down alleyway.  There were 4 or 5 Sampans moored at the end of the jetty.  There is a rickisha stand in the road near Birts Wharf.  There are Native houses near the end [??????].

Re-exd by C.A.

When I spoke of 10 paces I meant from where we left the Rickisha to the Sampan.

To a Juryman.  I had only a [light] [????] on the Prisoner as he was getting into the Sampan, don't remember whether prisoner then had revolver.

   My right hand had hold of his left [322].  Prisoner had Revolver in his right. 

To another Juryman.  Prisoner fired twice.  Did not hear the first shot it was the second that hit me.  First time there was only a little noise.  Pistol was aimed at me.  Prisoner was then in sampan.  I laid hold of the Prisoner to ask for money.  When he fired I had not hold of Prisoner.

John Justice, sworn.  A British Subject.  Proprietor of the Club House Woong Road - next south of Acton House.  I know the Revolver produced.  It is the one my wife gave Prisoner on Xmas day. [323] Saw my wife give him revolver & Cartridges.  Stayed at my house until about 10 minutes to 7 & then left.  I came out with him & saw him get into rickisha & start. In other respects witness's evidence corresponds with deposition.

XXd by Mr. [Brimell]

I knew Prisoner 18 years ago at Hong Kong.  I was then in copartnership with American [Stationer].  I had occasion to see him about my [duty] there.  I never found anything wrong with [him] [there].  He had 3 or 4 drinks on Xmas day before supper - at [324] supper he had no drink.  He was very quiet & very peaceful.  I don't recognise Rickisha Coolie.  Prisoner was perfectly sober when he left my house.  Prisoner pulled a 20 cent piece out of his pocket when he was starting in Rickisha.  Previous [visit] he had promised to be on board at 8 o'C & was going to be so.  My son was present when he got into Rickisha.

Re-exd by C.A.  My son is here.

Wong-ah-lai, cautioned.  Sampan man.  Remember row at Birts Wharf on Xmas day.  Prisoner got into my boat.  Rickisha man followed him asking for cash.  Foreigner got into Sampan. [325]

Rickisha man was still asking for money holding on to side of sampan.  Foreigner said if you don't go away I'll shoot you.  After shot Rickisha man still had hold of side & called another man to go for Police.  Police came & took the parties to the station.  I did not go there.  We sampan men stopped in our boats let Rickisha man [????] the trouble.  Could not well see what kind of gun Foreigner had.  He was in my boat when he fired.  Coolie was on wharf.  Had not hold of Prisoner only of side of sampan.  I could see that [326] Prisoner lifted his hand towards the Coolie before he fired.  I did not [push] off from Wharf.  Prisoner told me to go before he fired but I did not because the Coolie had hold of the Rope and wanted money.  Only man on the jetty at the time the Prisoner fired was the Prosecutor.

   Witness reports in Pidgin English that the prisoner said "[????] you no go away I shoot you."

XXd by Mr. [Brimell]  Sampan could go along side jetty at that time.  There were 4 or 5 sampan men there art the time.  I did not see the Rickisha.  Sampan was at the side of the jetty nr the canal [326] Sampan not actually alongside be easy to step inside.  Jetty is about the width of the table before me.  There are two poles at the end of the jetty and one [on lip].  First saw the Prisoner right at the end of alleyway.  It was quite dark at the time.  jetty might be about the length of the Court.  Prisoner only fired one shot.  Prosecutor may have been distance about the length of the table.  Alleyway is about the same width as the jetty and longer than the [???? ????] as long.  Alleyway is little crowded.

Re-exd by C.A.  Prisoner and Prosecutor were not so far apart as the length of the table.  Prisoner was in the well of the Sampan [327].

To a Juryman.  Did not see the Prosecutor lay hold of the Prisoner.  Heard only one shot, did not actually see pistol in Prisoner's hand.

Tze-yang-ping, cautioned.  Jinrickisha man.  Remember a row at Birts Wharf about a month ago.  Heard report of a gun, was on the Road outside the alley.  I ran in to see to the end of the jetty.  3 or 4 other men were there.  I saw Rickisha Coolie sitting down holding side of Sampan.  Saw a Foreigner in Sampan, the Prisoner in the dock.  Coolie was shouting for help & called me to call Police.  I did so, a Sikh.  I went to the station [328].  Only heard one shot that night.  I identify Prosecutor as the Coolie who was shot.

XXd by Mr. [Brimell].  I was taking a lantern to my brother a Rickisha man when I heard the shot.

Bhagwan Singh, cautioned.  Sikh P.C. No. 53.  Identifies accused as the man he arrested and repeats evidence given before Magistrates.

   Took the revolver away from Prisoner by twisting his arms.  [????] that I accidentally fired [out] od prisoners revolver [struck] the ground and hit nobody.  I gave the Revolver to the Sergeant at the station. [329]

XXd by Mr. [Brimett]

   Prisoner smelt slightly of drink.  Lamp 96 is about 25 paces from the Alleyway.  Prosecutor was brought away from Wharf in Rickisha.  I jumped into Sampan to bring prisoner out.

Osbadiah Kluth, sworn.  Inspector of Police.  Wounded was brought to station by Rickisha pulled by one of the witnesses.  I remember wounded man.  I produce Bullet [??] [????] [????].  I identify revolver which was given to me by Sikh Constable.  3 of the barrels was loaded & two discharged.  Sikh told me he had accidentally discharged one.  The two barrels fired were not [330] together.

   Witness repeats otherwise the evidence he gave before Magistrate.

XXd  by Mr. [Brimnett]

I should recognise things taken from Prisoner when he was searched at Station.  These are them.  There was no 20 cent piece found on him.  Prisoner at station was unsteady on his legs.

Case for the prosecution.


Mr. Brimell calls

Andrew William Justice, sworn.  Son of preceding witness.  Remember last Xmas day. [331] Prisoner came to my father's house.  I was at home all the time he was there.  He had not much to drink, had supper.  I was home.  He had no drinks afterwards; he asked me to get Jinrickisha.  Before this he told me to beg 10 cents of [Camphor] and 20 cents of peppers.  I did so.  I saw Prisoner get into Rickisha.  Before he got in he showed Coolie a 20 cent piece.  My Father directed Coolie where to go.  Prisoner seemed quite sober.

XXd by C.A.   It was about 20 minutes to seven.

To a Juryman.  Prisoner gave me 3 10 cent pieces to buy camphor & peppers. [332]

Mr. Brimell addressed Jury.

C.A. replies.

Judge sums up.

Guilty of unlawful wounding.


Six months imprisonment with hard labour.

R. T. Rennie, C.J.



Source: North China Herald, 3 January 1890

  At H.B.M.'s Court on Monday, before the Assistant Judge, a man of colour named John Smith was charged with shooting Lee Ching-kong, a jinricksha coolie, under the circumstances detailed in the following evidence.
  John Jester, proprietor of the Globe public house, Woosung Road, said - Accused came to my house on the 22nd and slept the night there. On Christmas night he came again and asked my wife for a revolver and cartridges he had left there.  He said he brought the revolver ashore for sale.  He stayed in the house till after supper, after which he asked my son to get him a jinricksha.  My son got him one, and the accused showed the coolie 20 cents, which he said he would give him if he took him to the Ningpo Wharf.  He then left in the jinricksha.  It was about 10 minutes to 7 o'clock.  He was perfectly sober.
  Dr. W. H. Boone said - I examined the prosecutor at St. Luke's Hospital on the night of the 25th.  He had a wound on the inside of the left thigh (on the inner side of the femur).  The wound was about 2 1/8 inches in length, in an upward direction, and rather less than an inch below the surface.  It is half an inch, or a little more, from the femoral artery.  The prosecutor is still under my treatment.  I expect that he will be well in about a fortnight if nothing unusual occurs.  Such a bullet as the one produced would have caused such a wound.
  Bahg Wan Sing, Sikh police constable said - At a  quarter to eight on Christmas night I was on duty at the Yangtsepoo Road.  When I was near lamp No. 96, a coolie came up and told me there was a fight between a foreigner and a Chinaman.  I went with him to Birt's Wharf and found a coolie lying on the jetty.  I saw a wound on his thigh, by the light from a lantern.  I asked other coolies where the man who had inflicted the wound had gone, and they told me he had got into a sampan lying close by.  I boarded the sampan and brought the prisoner out.  He was unwilling to come, and I had to drag him out.  After we had gone a few paces I saw a revolver (produced) in the sleeve of his coat.  I took it away from him.  I put the wounded man in a jinricksha, and took the accused with me.  When we got to the lamp he was again unruly, and I had to put him in a jinricksha, in doing which I accidentally discharged one chamber of the revolver.  I then took both men to the station.
  By Inspector Kluth - The accused was "a little drunk."
  The prisoner, when asked if he had any question to put, denied that he had refused to go with the constable.
  Lee Ching-kong, the prosecutor, who gave his evidence seated, said - I am a jinricksha coolie.  The accused hired me near the Astor house, and I took him in the direction of the Yang-tze-poo Road, and then to the wharf.  When we got there he left my jinricksha and went towards a sampan.  I followed, and caught hold of him, as he had given me no money.  The sampan man did not push off, and the accused, standing in the sampan, fired two shots. The second struck me in the leg.  I fell down.  The accused then came out of the sampan, and I caught hold of him.  I had asked a coolie to go for a policeman, and after a short time the last witness came up.  I was holding accused by the hand at the time.  The accused wanted to get away but I held him.
  By Inspector Kluth - I heard no noise from the first shot.
  Accused made a short statement, in which he said that he had given the prosecutor 20 cents, and when he asked for more gave him 10 cents; prosecutor still followed him, with five or six other coolies, and accused, thinking their object was to rob him, fired one shot.
  Prosecutor, in further examination, denied that he had received 20 cents or any money at all, and said that his fare was 5 cents.
 Wong Tai, sampan man, said - I was at Birt's Wharf on Christmas night.  The accused came up and got into my sampan.  The prosecutor followed him, and told me accused had not paid him.  Accused then told prosecutor that if he did not go away he would shoot hm. Accused then fired one shot.  Prosecutor fell down, but kept hold of the sampan rope.  Accused told me to shove off but I refused.  When the shot was fired, we three were the only people on the wharf.
  Sing Zay Ping, jinriksha coolie, said - On Christmas night I was in the alley way leading to Birt's Wharf.  I heard a pistol shot from the direction of the jetty.  I ran on to the jetty and saw the prosecutor on the ground.  He asked me to call a policeman and I did so.
  Inspector Kluth said - I was at Hongkew police station on Christmas night.  At ?.15 the accused and prosecutor were brought to the station by the Sikh constable.  While the prosecutor was standing in the charge room, the bullet (produced) with a piece of cotton attached, dropped from his wound.  I sent him to the hospital. Accused was under the influence of liquor. He made a statement that he had been followed by a number of Chinese who, he thought, wanted to throw him, in the river, and he had fired one shot in self-defence, but without intending to hurt anybody.  I had the prosecutor's clothes and jinricksha searched.  There were only 24 cash found.  Prisoner had 6o cents in his possession.  One cartridge in the revolver chamber produced is dented, and two have been discharged.  I thought the accused hardly knew what he was doing.
  The case was then adjourned for a fortnight.

Source: North China Herald, 17 January 1890

  At the British Police Court on Tuesday, before the Assistant Judge, John Smith, a coloured sailor belonging to the British ship Earl Granville, was charged on remand with shooting a jinricksha coolie at Birt's Wharf on Christmas Day.
  The evidence given on the previous occasion was read over.
  In reply to his Worship, Dr. Boone said the prosecutor had quite recovered, but the skin was not perfectly healed.
  The prisoner was then committed for trial, which the Assistant Judge stated would probably take place on Monday week.

Source: North China Herald, 31 January 1890

Shanghai, 30th January 1890
Before the Chief Justice and a Jury.
R. v. SMITH.
  Henry Smith, a coloured seaman belonging to the British ship Earl Granville, was charged on an indictment with feloniously wounding Lee Ching-kong, a jinricksha coolie, with intent to do grievous bodily harm, by shooting him with a revolver, on Christmas Day, 1889.
[Not transcribed.]
The Chief Justice, in briefly summing up, said he was unable to see that there was any evidence to support the theory of self-defence which had been set up. If the jury believed the prisoner discharged the revolver with the intention of injuring the prosecutor or some other person, they would of course find him guilty of wounding with intent to do grievous bodily harm; but if they thought fit they could find him guilty of the less serious offence of unlawful wounding.
  The Jury, after a very short deliberation, found the prisoner guilty of unlawful wounding.
  His Lordship, in passing sentence, said the prisoner had been convicted upon the clearest possible evidence of having shot the prosecutor.  The jury had taken a somewhat merciful view pf the case in having only found him guilty of unlawful wounding.  It was fortunate that his discharging a pistol in such a reckless manner had not had a more serious consequence, and no doubt this would be a lesson to him in future to be more careful in the handling of fire-arms.  It was impossible to pass over this matter without inflicting a period of imprisonment, and the accused must go to prison for six months with hard labour.
  Before discharging the jury, his Lordship said he regretted having to summon them for such small cases, but there was no power here to try them without a jury, although in an outpost the consul could deal with such matters.

Published by Centre for Comparative Law, History and Governance at Macquarie Law School